Tuesday, February 13, 2018

🇨🇳 Welcome to China 🇨🇳

Hello, Friends! :)

I just barely got back from the TEMPLE!!!!! So I don’t have a whole lot of time to write today. Here comes a speed summary of my past week!

So, to start off, I would like to express that this past week has probably been one of the greatest weeks on my mission! No joke! It has been phenomenal! I wish I could explain half of the amazing things that happened last week. I will try my best :)

  • Transfers were last week! I was transferred back to QUEENS! YES! So now I am in Flushing with Elder Rice. OH MY GOODNESS, I love it here! We live right in the heart of basically China hahaha It is the greatest thing of my life! There are sooooo many people that live here in Flushing and it is awesome! With Queens being the most diverse place on the planet (that’s a fact), comes the blessing of having missionaries serve here who speak different languages. There are two districts here in Flushing, the Chinese district and my district which consists of an English companionship, a Spanish companionship, and two Korean companionships. We have decided to call ourselves the ‘Spengleans’! I LOVE my district so much!!!!! 
  • The branch here is pretty small. It is combined Spanish and English, so I am now working on learning a little bit more Spanish so I can communicate with the other half of my ward! The mission is definitely keeping me on my toes
  • Elder Rice is a champ! He is from California near San Diego and has been on his mission for 7.5 months. I love him lots!
  • This week was FILLED with miracles!!!! I don’t have time to go super into specifics about them, so I will give a vaguely general summary of them haha. Our teaching pool needs a lot of growth, so Elder Rice and I have been doing a lot of finding :) it has been amazing! We found 6 super solid new investigators this week where the ways we found them were 100% led by God. Remind me to tell you more about them next week! Let’s just say I know God lives and really does put us in the path of His children who are ready for the gospel! Jessica, Sylvia, Lucy, Jenny, Brian, and Jeffrey are miracles!!!
  • Elder Randall K. Bennett visited our mission on Friday! Wow, was that amazing! I love being able to learn from the experiences and wisdom of general authorities! The things he shared were definitely an answer to some of my prayers :)

There is so so so much more I need to tell you, but I will have to leave it at that. I love you all so much!

Love ya!
Elder Snell

P.S. OH OH OH OH OH!!! We are going to be in the Chinese Lunar New Year parade here in Flushing on Saturday! I am pretty sure it will be televised on the news, so try and find it online and you might see all the missionaries dressed in the yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests! See you on TV!

1) Saying goodbye to Jose :( this man changed my life by changing his. It was such an incredible experience to work with Jose :)

2) Saying goodbye to John (recent convert in Midwood)

3)Barclays Center in Brooklyn (had to pass it on my way to the doctors last week)


4-5) Cinnamon peanut butter & mint jelly sandwich for lunch! 

6-7) Second to last temple trip here in NY! :( :( It was AMAZING to be able to go to the temple again :) I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Moving Out of Midwood

Feb 5, 2015

Hello, Friends! :)

Alright, so I don’t have a whole lot of time this week to do much emailing... lots of stuff I have to accomplish today haha so Elder Lee and I will be running around all day :)

Tomorrow is transfers.... and yeah....I am out... it is super sad because I have only been here in Midwood for 2 transfers. But that is okay, because I know where ever I go is exactly where the Lord needs me! 

So, along with me being moved from Midwood (not sure where I am going yet), after a wonderful 5 transfers I have been released from being a Zone Leader. It was such a privilege and blessing to be able to serve the missionaries I serve with in a different way. I have learned so much from the examples of my peers and from my Heavenly Father. I feel that i have truly learned how to love and care for someone in the way our Savior loved and cared for others (even though it is just a fraction of the love and compassion the Savior felt toward His brothers and sisters here). I was also called to be a District Leader again! I am super stoked about that! Words cannot express how excited I am to continue to serve my fellow missionaries :) :) :) I have 4 transfers left on my mission :( so my next area very well may be my last area here in New York. I guess we will have to see haha

This final week here in Midwood has been a super long one (week 7 of this extended transfer), yet one so full of miracles! Jose is currently on a week long no smoking streak! *knock on wood* This is the first time in his life since the age of 12 that he has gone more than one day in a row without smoking a single cigarette! I am so so so proud of him! It has been such an incredible experience to witness the changes that have happened in his life and in his character. Over the course of just 3-4 months, Jose went from stealing cars, robbing houses, using about every drug imaginable, never smiling, never caring what God thinks of him, etc. to having immense faith in Christ, having utter disgust for his own sins, smiling and laughing and cracking jokes, serving strangers who need some help on the streets, and having genuine love for all people. Jose is the prime example of the changes that are made possible through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is absolutely no way anyone could convince me that the is no God. Jose is a testimony that God lives. Jose along with thousands and thousands of others. What a joy this has been to watch the Savior truly change lives.

I love missionary work so much!! Over the past two transfers, the ward has grown a lot in regards to how missionary work is done here :) It is by no means perfect, but it has been great to be a part of the improvements that have been made! When I arrived here, there was little to no member involvement in missionary work. Right when I got here, we got a new Bishop who understood very well how missionary work should function in a ward. He called new ward missionaries and armed the Ward Mission with some great members! Our Ward Correlation meetings have become amazing over the past transfer! We have had ward missionaries at each meeting who have become key in helping the rest of the members become more excited for the work of salvation. It has been super neat to see the leadership of the ward take charge in missionary work :) Goodness, I love missionary work!!

Well, I guess I wrote a lot more than I thought I would haha 😅 sorry for the long emails each week... If you have any questions about anything, feel free to write me! I love hearing from you all!

Have the most splendid week of your life, then do it again next week! :) 

Love you all!

Elder Snell

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. At least there is one with me in it, so I have fulfilled the requirements ;) haha 

1) Exchanges with Elder Morency (left) and Elder Bissereth (right, but not all the way. That’s Elder Lee)

2) Video of me on an “exercise machine” in the house of a Guyanese woman we knocked into hahaha

Monday, January 29, 2018

Going for Gold, Settling for Silver

Hey, Everyone! :)

Sorry for the super short email this week. I will try to write more next week. At least there are pictures, right? Hahaha anyway, here is a super fast summary of my week :)

- The Zone leaders in the Brooklyn Stake met with our Stake President on Thursday to go over every recent convert in our areas. It was really neat to be able to meet with the Stake Presidency to discuss how we can work with them to better the wards in which we serve. President Reynolds was there too. They also had a giant tub of jelly beans and mints on the table, so we were happy! 
- Angel came to church for the first time since I have served in Brooklyn! She is an investigator we have been working with since I got here and has refused to come to church because she doesn’t want to accidentally sleep in and break her promise to come.... but, she finally made it!!!! It was so great having her there! She absolutely loved it, too! Angel always mentions in her lessons, “when I am baptized I will.....” hahaha she is too great! I love her!
- I had the most spiritual experience with Jose this week. A couple weeks ago, Jose offered a kneeling prayer with us to help him decide a day that he will quit smoking for good. He chose January 25th. I was honestly surprised that he chose a date so soon, but he was certain that was the day God wanted him to choose. Over the two weeks leading up to Jose’s quit day, his faith grew exponentially! He KNEW that Christ was going to help him quit smoking. Keep in mind that when I first met Jose he was a full-time car their, cocaine and heroine and marijuana addict, and smoked multiple packs of cigarettes each day. He now has immense faith in Christ and always has a smile on his face. He has overcome all his addiction aside from cigarettes. The day before Jose’s quit day, we had a lesson with him. We taught him about the Priesthood and talked about some of the miracles Christ performed. We explained that that same healing power is on the earth today and is held by men in Christ’s restored church. After an intense spiritual lesson, Jose asked if I would give him a blessing to help him quit smoking. I know that God knows and loves Jose. I felt it. Since Jose’s quit day, he hasn’t smoked a single cigarette. I know God lives! I believe in and trust in the healing power of the Priesthood of Christ. It has been such a special experience to witness Jose’s growth in the gospel. Heavenly Father is always there and is always willing to lift us. Jose has a bright future ahead of him in the Lord’s church! 
- We had exchanges with Elder Bissereth and Elder Morency! I love those two so much! They are both Haitian Creole speaking missionaries. Lots of fun!
- We had our zone activity today! Elder Lee and I planned our own Zone 2 Olympic Games! It was awesome! However, during one the events I dislocated my shoulder while crawling on the ground and blowing a tissue across the gym and am now in a sling hahaha sadly, my team lost because of it... oh well... 

Well, this email turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it was going to be! Hahaha oops! I will stop now 🛑 😅

I love you all! 

Have a great week!
Elder Snell

Friday, January 26, 2018

Miracles, Math, and Mace! Oh My!

Jan 22, 2018  Hello, Everyone! :)

Really fast, before you skip down to the bottom to check out the pictures and not read the rest of the email, at least read the next paragraph! Then you may feel free to skip down to the bottom if you so desire. 

We got some super exciting news from the Area Seventy Presidency the other day. On Saturday, we had a mission-wide conference call where President Reynolds told us the big news. First, he told us who the new mission President will be which was cool. He and his wife is from California will be bringing some children with them, so it will be fun having a mission president with his family living with him. But the most exciting announcement is that on July 1, 2018 there will be a change to the boundaries of our mission! We will be gaining 1 or 2 new stakes. These stakes cover all of Manhattan, The Bronx, and a small part of Connecticut!!!! So, my mission will then cover all five burrows of NYC and will be called the New York New York City Mission!!! How crazy cool is that?!? We are all pretty excited! However, I will only be here for 20 days of the new change. It is still super exciting though! We will also now have a TEMPLE in our mission boundaries!!!!!!!!!!

Well, that is probably the most exciting part of this week’s email. I thought it was super cool! Anyway, sorry for not sending a weekly email last week. Our schedule was super off due to the holiday and our Preparation Day moving to Wednesday. However, there were some good things that come from that! Monday was an awesome day filled with some really great finding and some miracles! Also, the Brooklyn Museum was open on Wednesday so we were able to go explore the museum for a bit. It was a grand day! I will attach some pictures and videos from the museum in another email probably :)

On Friday into Saturday we had exchanges with the Dyker Heights Elders, Elder Rogers and Elder Jarman. Elder Jarman came with me this time and we saw some amazing miracles during our 24 hours together! Friday night we had some back to back lessons. We had a lesson with a woman from Haiti named Monica. Monica had requested a Bible and The Book of Mormon from mormon.org and has been talking with the referral center sisters for a little over a month now. She has now been reading the Book of Mormon on her own since then and Friday night was our first lesson with her. First, on our way to Monica’s, we ran into a Maggie. Maggie has a Mormon friend in our ward and used to come to church with her regularly! Maggie said that she actually misses coming to the Mormon Church and would like to come visit again! Maggie still has her Book of Mormon and is excited to start meeting with missionaries again! Now, during our lesson with Monica, she soaked in everything we taught her and loved it! It was a little awkward at first because Monica’s apartment is 6ft X 4ft, so I had to sit next to Monica on her bed and Elder Jarman sat on a little chair halfway out the open door of her apartment. Despite her cramped living conditions and very limited wiggle room, the spirit filled that tiny apartment barely big enough for her bed, dresser, and 42” flat screen TV. It was a really neat experience. Monica also come to church yesterday and really enjoyed it there. She said that she is planning on coming every week and is really looking forward to the day she gets baptized. Monica is a miracle!

Throughout the remainder of our exchange, we continued to see miracles! We had a lesson with Jose and helped him feel forgiveness toward someone who had upset him earlier that day. As we knelt in prayer with Jose in the front hallway of his apartment building, Jose poured out his heart to God and pleaded that he would be able to forgive the man that offended him just as God always forgives us when we try our best. After Jose finished his prayer, we all stayed on our knees. After a minute or so, Jose finally said, “Wow, I feel it. I don’t feel angry no more. Jesus really does help us feel His peace”. It is such a special experience to be able to watch Jose grow closer to his Savior and Father in Heaven through little moments like these. Now, for the first time in Jose’s life, he says that he actually feels confident he can quit smoking. So neat!

Saturday Morning, Elder Jarman and I had a couple of our lessons fall through, so we had some time to go finding and do a few look ups. We decided that we would go visit Joan for the final time before dropping her to see if she would still like her copy of the The Book of Mormon she ordered onmormon.org. We have gone to find Joan quite a few times with no success. However, I felt this time might be different. We got to her apartment building and went up to the 5th floor and knocked on her door. To our pleasant surprise, Joan answered the door!!! She said she would still love to have her Book of Mormon and that she was about too leave in 15 minutes (perfect amount of time for a lesson!). We stepped right inside her apartment and taught her the message of the Restoration along with giving her her Book of Mormon. She was super receptive and is really excited to read the Book of Mormon now! As we were leaving Joan’s apartment building, we ran into Hector, a man who I had run into a couple weeks earlier by accidentally knocking on his door in the same building as Joan while looking for someone else. Hector remembered me and was more than willing to have us over to share our message with his family next week! It was so neat to be able to see God’s hand guiding His work over the past week. I am so grateful be play a small part in all of it :)

Well, there is so so so much more to talk about from the past couple weeks, but this email is already long enough! So, here are a few quick highlights:

  • District Leader Training Meeting
  • We ran into a super rich 19 year old from Pakistan who likes flashing his money around so he bought us lunch on the spot.
  • Jack the Jew has been coming to church for the past few weeks in a row. Last week we sang him some hymns after church and he definitely felt the spirit to the point of tears. He’s coming around. Slowly but surely.
  • We got pepper-spray from a guy selling a bunch of things on the street, and WOW does that stuff work! Not a pleasant experience! Would NOT recommend!
  • I hit my 18 month mark on this past Saturday...
  • John, a 19 year old recent convert, needed a ton of help with his math in order to graduate high school. So, Elder Lee and I helped him with more math than I have ever touched our thought about in over a year and a half! It was kinda fun though. We helped him with over 50 different assignments in total. At least he will now be able to graduate high school, so that is good! :)
  • We got on a train FULL of a large group of Haitians protesting against President Trump. They had instruments and were chanting super loud! It was awesome!

I guess I will leave it at that for this week! I love you all! Help someone have an amazing day and yours will be amazing too!

“God made you special, and He loves you very much!”

Love ya!
Elder Snell

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Today's Special; Explosive Pancakes

Jan 8, 2018

Hello, Friends!

This week has been pretty insane! I don’t have a lot of time to write today, so I will have to keep it relatively short. 

We have our heading. Here we GOOOOOO!!!!!!

We had our exchanges with the Assistants this week starting on Wednesday. We took a 2 hour train ride up to Queens to meet them at the mission office. We then spent the rest of Wednesday proselyting with them in their pool over in Lynbrook. It was a pretty good day. We taught a few lessons (one of which was in an apartment invested with mice... kinda distracting when trying to teach the Plan of Salvation haha), got into a few doors while knocking, and I went to their district meeting. Exchanges are usually just 24 hours, so we were planning on spending the night at their apartment, doing personal study in the morning, and heading back to Brooklyn. However, on Thursday morning we woke up to a whiteout blizzard! It was super crazy outside! President Reynolds asked that no body drive for the entire day, so we were stuck in Lynbrook with the Assistants for another day! We did our personal study and called our investigators. Eventually, the assistants decided that it was game/movie day! So, we played a few games and watched “Johnny Lingo”. Throughout the entire snow day, and for the next few days after it, I was getting call after call from senior citizens who were passing my number around all of Brooklyn to their friends telling everyone that we were the “Snow Shoveling Mormons” and that we would come and shovel their driveway for free. Now, that was very true! We are hooked up to the City’s snow removal hotline. Well, since I was stuck in Lynbrook, I was acting as a receptionist all day taking calls and sending the missionaries over in Brooklyn out into the whiteout blizzard with their shovels to dig out somewhere around 15-20 houses. We spent the night at the Assistants again and headed back to Brooklyn Friday afternoon. It was a pretty good 48+ hour exchange! Hahaha it was kinda weird being out of our pool for almost 3 days though.

Well, the craziness didn’t end there. Once we got back to Brooklyn on Friday, we didn’t have time to go home at all. We immediately grabbed our shovels and went to work digging out cars and responding to more senior citizens who kept passing my number to their friends and requesting free snow removal. It was super fun to be able to run around shoveling snow all day, though! We also found a few new investigators from it! :) 

Friday night, Elder Lee and I had to run to the hospital to give a blessing to a member’s sister. We got there and the sister was super unconscious. We tried waking her up, but she was super not waking up! So, we gave her the blessing without getting to talk with her or anyone really. The member is in Bermuda, so it was just Elder Lee and I there. It was interesting. I am really grateful for the Priesthood! I love being able to be an instrument in the hands of God to be able to bless and serve His children!

Saturday was Mission Leadership Council. It ran from 9:00-3:00. Long meeting! It is usually longer, but President decided to make this one a little shorter. I was super grateful he did because we had a really important lesson we needed to get to with Brother Kelly’s friend, Leslie! Leslie is already one of my favorite investigators to teach! He is so intelligent and has lots of amazing questions! He also recognizes how God has led him to find the Mormon church and is really interested in it. I will have to tell you more about Leslie next week!

Last thing and I will be done. I promise! 
We had our district activity today! We decided to have a potluck lunch all together! Half of our district is from Haiti, so there was a lot of chicken and rice and plantains and other Haitian foods! Elder Lee make Korean BBQ, Sister Slade made some super good chocolate pecan pie, and I made................. German Pancakes!!!!!!!!!!!! It was super fun! However, this is the embarrassing part! Hahaha I used a glass baking pan to make my German pancakes. After they were done cooking, I placed the pan on top of the stove to cool off a little. I guess the metal was a little too cold and the pan was a little too hot and they decided not to be friends... about 30 seconds after placing the pan on top of the stove, the glass baking pan EXPLODED!!! The glass went flying all over the place!!! Hahahahaha I have now learned why hot pads are a thing 😅

Anyway, it was overall a super hectic and awesome and long week! 

I will stop writing now :)

I love you all! Have the most splendid of weeks! Pray for snow for the mountains! My dad needs it ;)

Elder Snell

(My glass sheet that blew up...)
(Subway performer! He also played Rhapsody in Blue, but it was a long video so I didn’t attach it)
(This is a Book of Mormon that a man had that we knocked into. He bought it years ago in a book store)

Explosives Are Not For The Weak At Heart

Jan 1, 1018 Happy New Year, Friends! :)

Things have been getting pretty cool over here! The temperature hasn’t gone above freezing for an entire week now and won’t for another week or more. The average high lately has been somewhere around 19 degrees. When we woke up this morning it was 7 degrees with a windchill that took it down to -9! I have officially cracked out my winter coat and am using it regularly. I had a bunch of members and a lot of people on the street get mad at me for only wearing a sweater. It was kind of funny, but they were sincerely concerned for my life. So, in order to not die I have made the decision to wear a coat and some little gloves :) 

Someone told me that this year was the coldest New Year’s Eve on record! Crazy! The funny thing though was that didn’t stop anyone from having a good time with some fireworks outside at midnight! We had to be in our apartments by 6:00PM last night but it seemed like that was the time the rest of Brooklyn left their apartments! The fireworks and screaming never ceased all night! There was a large group of people lighting tons and tons of fireworks on the street right in front of our apartment building. The fireworks were SUPER big and SUPER loud! It was awesome! However, it made it very difficult to sleep hahaha. Our apartment was way too hot, so Elder Lee and I opened a window before going to bed. BIG MISTAKE! As soon as midnight hit, there was an onslaught of large balls of fire being blown up right next to our apartment window! It was loud and exciting, but really exhausting not being able to sleep much last night. 

This week was a little harder with missionary work. Most of our investigators were out of town or just super busy having parties and what not with their families. So Elder Lee and I had a bunch more time for finding this week! That was really nice! :) There was one day where all of our lessons cancelled that morning, so we had an entire day for finding some new people and getting in contact with some old people. We spent the whole day talking with people on the street, bus, and train, knocking, making a ton of calls, etc. However, despite our hard work, nothing really came of it. At the end of the day, I felt kind of defeated having not found anyone new or made much progress with our current investigators. As we were walking home for the night, I said a prayer in my heart that our efforts for the day would not be wasted and that we blessed the life of someone somehow. Just after my silent prayer, we passed a Middle Eastern woman with her two kids. We said hello as we were walking past her. She immediately stopped and said, “Elders?!?” My heart about explodes every time someone I don’t know on the street says that! Turns out that the woman, Bushra, ran into missionaries a while ago and had them over to her house. She invited us over for some soda (because she knew we don’t drink coffee or tea) and told us about how much she absolutely loves missionaries! Bushra had tons and tons of questions about what we believe and has a real interest in learning more. We scheduled to go over to her house the next morning. She is super cool! I can definitely see her and her family being baptized in the near future :)

We had a few more miracles happen this week! Since it was a holiday weekend, all of our investigators that are consistently coming to church couldn’t make it yesterday... We were expecting to have 4 or 5 of our investigators at church, but they all said that they wouldn’t be able to make it... A while back I made a promise with Heavenly Father that I wouldn’t go to church without an investigator with me. I also promised that I would never miss church. Yesterday was looking like it might be the day I let Heavenly Father and myself down, however God always provides! When we got to church, Brother Butler asked me if I would play the organ for Sacrament Meeting. So, throughout the meeting I was sitting up on the stand. Right after the administration of the Sacrament they always invite those in the foyer to come into the Chapel. While the members were making their way to their seats, I noticed unfamiliar faces. They both came into the Chapel individually and sat by themselves on a pew. After Sacrament meeting had finished, one of them came up to me and introduced himself as Christopher. He was one of our investigators I had never met yet who I felt I should call a couple days earlier!!! He didn’t answer, so I just left a message saying it had been a while since we have seen him and wanted to see how he was doing. He got my message and decided to come to church! The other unfamiliar face was Leslie, the non-member friend of Brother Kelly, who has been really interested in Mormon theology and wanted to meet with missionaries really bad to help him better understand the Book of Mormon! Miracles!!! We were able to set up appointments with Christopher and Leslie for this week and are going to start meeting with them consistently! God is so good! :)

Well, there was a lot more that happened this week but my email is already long enough, so I will just end it here. Happy New Year! I love you all! :) 

Elder Snell